CapeNature runs a wide variety of job creation programmes across its reserves in the Western Cape, mainly through the national government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), funded by the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure through the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning.
These jobs are created across CapeNature's four landscapes (East, West, Central and South) – from the Cape metro, West Coast and Boland, to the Overberg, mountainous parts of the Langeberg, and isolated parts of the Karoo and Garden Route.
The programme prioritises the most vulnerable groups of our society, with phase 4 prescribing that the total number of employees must include 60% women, 55% youth and 2% disabled persons. As an implementer of the EPWP, CapeNature is dedicated and committed to meeting these targets every financial year. In 2020/21 CapeNature exceeded this mandate, with 602 beneficiaries employed (target: 450) through the programme, of whom 352 (58%) were women, 506 (84%) youth, and eight, people with disabilities.
Our EPWP employment footprint spans and impacts all six municipalities of the Western Cape. Participants of this programme reside in 67 communities that are adjacent to our nature reserves, including poverty nodes. Job creation is at the core of CapeNature’s biodiversity conservation initiatives and informs all our efforts.
EPWP beneficiaries are key in executing our annual plan of operations, as they perform important duties such as clearing water catchments of invasive alien tree species and rehabilitating freshwater ecosystems; fence erection and removal; firebreak and hiking trail maintenance; and rendering services such as security, administration, cleaning of offices and tourism facilities, and more.
Skills development and capacity building
As part of in-service training and skills development, CapeNature offers a wide spectrum of South African Qualifications Authority-accredited training progammes. Training offered includes, but is not limited to:
- Health and safety
- Brush-cutter operation
- Chainsaw operation
- Herbicide application
- Basic wild veldfire training
- Supervisory skills
These training programmes are offered to capacitate individuals to perform their duties with confidence and knowledge. This training gives them a much better chance in the job market and equips them to transition seamlessly into the mainstream economy. Participants are also encouraged to study further, with the understanding that formal education advances chances for employment.
CapeNature invites tenders from local contractors living near its reserves to provide cleaning, security and laundry services through service-level agreements, with the overall goal of creating jobs. It also employs interns and provides them with opportunities to develop their experience.
Award-winning project helps develop local contractors
CapeNature’s long-standing and successful Goukou-Duivenhoks wetlands project has created 55 jobs for people from the nearby Hessequa towns of Heidelberg and Riversdale – and won numerous South African National Biodiversity Institute awards.
Wetlands work benefits natural resources while creating opportunities
Creating jobs while managing natural resources translates into a win for both the environment and local people. The 10-year rehabilitation project of the Verlorenvlei wetlands on the West Coast achieved this and more.
Building better futures on the Garden Route
Job creation. Skills development. Career success stories. These are some of the great results CapeNature’s Keurbooms EPWP project has yielded for local communities
Grootvadersbosch skills training and jobs help uplift Hessequa community
From an EPWP contract position at Stony Point Reserve to conservation assistant at De Mond Nature Reserve and, most recently, an appointment as full-time field ranger at Grootvadersbosch – Nico du Preez’s career progress is a shining example of a CapeNature success story.
CapeNature welcomes people with disabilities to its teams
CapeNature is constantly working towards greater inclusion for people with disabilities – not only for visitors, but also for its own teams on the ground.
Empowering women to grow through CapeNature
CapeNature has a special EPWP programme to empower women through peer assistance, informative talks, nature walks, talks, yoga, meditation and special events.